Gordana Lebović (RS), Isidora Spasić (RS) Nothing Happened (I didn't see anything, I didn't hear anything, I don't know anything)

installation, 2013

"I did not know that human hearts can reveal themselves as frozen rivers, but still I asked myself: what will happen when the ice on the rivers melts? Will everyone see what the water gives – will they turn their heads, cover up their faces? Will they say – I did not see anything – I did not hear anything – I don't know anything – Nothing happened."
Đorđe Lebović, from Semper idem

Persecution is a form of human behaviour as old as man himself. Individuals are often called out for their differences and unfairly mocked by society without concrete arguments or evidence, without any significant reason. The need to accuse and lay guilt for the situation in society at somebody's door is still an active mechanism.

The basic concept of the piece is to shed light on this mechanism, which is very present today. The goal is to, through interactive installations, reveal the symbolical spheres of violence and destruction based on depersonalization of the victim.

Installation I shows one of the most famous instruments of torture in history. It was used to torture the accused person and to extort a confession of “guilt“. The visitor is invited to sit in it. Through painful sitting and observing the text appearing on the video the person is reminded and forced to become aware of the surroundings and to identify with the accused. This experience should prompt facing the consequences of somebody else’s and of individual (in)activity.

Installation II was used as a medieval punishment method. The accused was made to wear the “mask of shame” during day and night, while eating, sleeping without any possibility of removal until the end of the punishment period. Passers-by were allowed to insult and beat the wearer. By putting on the mask the visitor feels empathy for the wearer born from the grotesque and distorted image reflected in a mirror. The questions arising from this action are – is punishment appropriate for the crime committed, if a crime was committed at all. Is disrespect for human beings and degradation of their appearance a way to achieve justice?

* Both installations are part of a project Witches – The History of Persecution by Gordana Lebović and Vedran Vučić that were presented at an exhibition by the same name housed in the Cultural Centre of Belgrade.

video: Zoran Đurković
sound: Vedran Vučić
production: Omen teatar

Gordana Lebović (RS)

Gordana Lebović graduated theatre and radio directing at the Academy for Drama in Belgrade. For more than fifteen years she has worked in researching contemporary theatre and art. She is the author and co-founder of a multimedia project Omen, which has developed into Omen Theatre. She is a director, author, producer and coordinator of workshops both as part of Omen Theatre and as part of other projects the theatre took part in. Her work is based on research and experimental processes, pushing the boundaries of contemporary theatre and connecting it to other areas of contemporary art. The same methods are applied in Lebrović's educational and humanitarian work. She the author of the exhibition Witches – a history of persecution, Witches – history and learning and Abolishing public space. She has directed several theatre plays, such as A story of a young man and a 1000 angels, Life? Or Theatre?, Thirteen and The game of madness. Gordana Lebrović's plays have been staged both in Serbia and abroad and as part of many national and international festivals. Her newest project, entitled Three faces of the mirror, is a theatrical research into extremism.

Isidora Spasić (RS)

Isidora Spasić graduated as a Bachelor in set and costume design at Accademia di belle arti di Brera, Milan, Italy and has a Master degree in film and TV set design from the same university. She is the author of many set and costumes designs for theatre, film, public readings and videos and of design solutions for exhibitions and installations for musical festivals. She worked on films that have been screened at festivals such as the Netherlands Film Festival, Dutch Film Festival, Underground London Film Festival, Milano Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, the Belgrade Short Film Festival and FEST. She had exhibitions at Belgrade Cultural Centra, REX Cultural Centre, Gallery of technology in Belgrade, Manak's House and EXIT festival and cooperated with Verdi theatre and EDGE Festival in Milan, Italy, Quendra Multimedia and the National Theatre in Priština, the Virovitica theatre and the Istrian National Theatre in Croatia and CZKD and UK Parobrod in Belgrade.